EYE ON EHLERS
... a comprehensive look at Michigan's Third District Congressman, designed to keep residents of Kent, Ionia, and Barry counties updated on the goings-on of their US Representative.
So who is Vernon Ehlers? Well, here's what the congressman's official website says about the Republican from Grand Rapids who was first elected to the House in a special election in December 1993:
Ehlers joined Congress following a distinguished tenure of service in teaching, scientific research and public service. He has served on numerous boards and commissions and was elected to the Kent County (Mich.) Board of Commissioners, and the Michigan House and Senate. The first research physicist to serve in Congress, Ehlers has been recognized for his strong work ethic and proven leadership skills in his duties on Capitol Hill.
As a member of the 109th Congress, Ehlers serves on five committees. On January 19, 2006, Ehlers was appointed by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert to serve as chairman of the House Administration Committee, which oversees operations of the House of Representatives, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo and the U.S. Botanical Gardens. It also plays a role in federal election legislation, among other issues. He has been a member of the committee since 1995 and was instrumental in the effort to connect the House of Representatives with the Internet and the creation of the Library of Congress’ Thomas website, which allows anyone to look up legislation being considered by Congress, laws that have been passed and other information about Congress.
Ehlers also serves on the Science Committee, where he serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards. During his tenure on the Science Committee, he oversaw in 1998 the writing of the nation’s first major statement on science policy since 1945. He also co-chairs theSTEM Ed Caucus, which is dedicated to improving the nation's K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Ehlers has led efforts to secure a fair funding formula and more dollars for Michigan's roads, highways, and transit systems. In the 107th Congress, Ehlers led the development of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which authorizes spending $270 million over the next five years to clean up sediments in the Great Lakes. Ehlers also is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, where he blends his efforts with the Science Committee on improving math and science education. Ehlers has served on the Science Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since his arrival in Washington and joined the Education and the Workforce Committee in 1999.
Prior to Congress, Ehlers served a total of 11 years in the Michigan Legislature - with just over two years in the House and nine years in the Senate, where he finished his tenure as President Pro-Tem. He also served eight years on the Kent County Board of Commissioners, including three years as chairman.
It should be noted that, after becoming chairman in the wake of the infamous Bob Ney's resignation, Ehlers will now become the ranking minority member on the Administration Committee now that the Republicans have lost control of Congress.